By Nevson Mpofu
Pan-AFRICAN Positive Women Coalition PAPWC- has taken Zimbabwe by storm this year celebrating years of achievements towards ending HIV and AIDS by 2030. Yes, Zimbabwe has done it given the figure on ground. In felicity to this effective annual time event at Global level, the coalition cheers on this year’s theme ‘’Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility.’’
Pan-African Positive Women Coalition took it in a strive action-pack with emotions to die-down on the prevalence of HIV in the country. In achievement to this the workshop held on 2 December a day after the World AIDS day carried the objective, promoting shared responsibility and involvement of families in EMTCT, [ elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV] address Gender-Based-Violence and promote up-take of viral load testing during pregnancy and at delivery.
Taking a snap-shot from the ground Director of Pan-African Women Tendayi Westerhof says women voices must be amplified right from the grass-roots. This, done, captures all net-works from all walks of life.
‘’Let us amplify voices of women and girls living with HIV at all levels. This is done right straight from the rural community roots, in marginalized, vulnerable and poverty-stricken communities. Women remain on the receiving end. It means we have to network for that Health reason to address issues that matter most.’’
‘’The Women focused civil-Society build skills for women living with HIV in advocacy, Health Rights, Community monitoring and collection of evidence towards engagement in Unit-Health coverage.’’
‘’ As a country we are a bit step ahead because the prevalence rate of HIV transmission in adults is at 12 ,9% . It used to be far much high than that. Now that we have taken in Health interventions, prevention, treatment, care and support effort we are better than never at all.’’
‘’As an organization, we have looked at elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV in babies. Secondly on sexual and reproductive health rights looking at young girls exposed much to HIV and AIDS due to early forced marriages, early age of consent and lack of access to information. Also, we take a stretched looked out on factors fueling HIV that progresses to AIDS. ‘’
Doctor Mushavi , EMTCT Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care takes the country down memory lane and back to the current situation on the ground .
‘’We have come a long way ‘’ , she adds taking into accountability that 86,8% adults are aware of their HIV status . 97,0% are on ART [Anti-Retroviral Therapy] . 90,3% achieved viral-load suppression. ‘New infections rate is at 0,38% , 0,54% in women and 0,20% in men . We have 1,23 million adults living with HIV and AIDS. It is high in women 15,3% , 10,2% men ‘’.
‘’What we are saying is that we want to see and observe complete elimination of HIV and AIDS by 2030. This is in line with the UNAIDS Goals. Moving on as we reach 2030, we completely eliminate HIV in babies born, meaning that HIV will be close to total elimination even in adults.’’
Africa Remains a burden to HIV.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains a threat to HIV dating back from the initial start. The World currently with 36 million people living with HIV, 28 million are from Africa. Africa remains impacted by issues that are social, political and economic. Social factors relate to culture and tradition like on cases of early child marriages exposes young girls to sexual transmitted infections, HIV and spread of other communicable diseases like water and food bourn, respectively cholera and gastro-intestinal infections.
Sub-Saharan -Africa especially Southern Africa is invaded by HIV-1 caused and more fueled by retroviruses which are more and most virulent than lentiviruses which are part of HIV-2 found in west Africa, Western World and American Region. It has been concluded that Africa with a total population of 1,2 billion population, above half of the total population is in absolute poverty. Still, situational poverty impacts more causing severe vulnerability. This has been an experience in Zimbabwe as result of Cyclone Idai. On top of the mentioned there are disasters, floods caused by lanina and elinina leading to types of droughts like meteorological, hydrological and Agricultural drought, a menace in many land-locked countries.